Orna Reisman-Berman


Research interests:

My research interest is in woody species ecosystems such as Forests, Woodlands, Savannas and Shrublands. An underlying theme that runs through my research is the relationship between plant traits that confer resistance and tolerance to stresses and the stability or the resilience of the ecosystem. We study anthropogenic effects on woody species ecosystem resilience, in general, and in particular, we focus on woody-species dynamics and their response to events of drought and fire. The dry Mediterranean, the semi-arid and the arid environments of Israel, which are situated along the precipitation rainfall gradient, support a perfect field-laboratory to test hypotheses on plant response to drought and even fire. Overall, this one of a kind living laboratory along the rainfall gradient provides the conditions to study possible scenarios of global climate change. Thus the research projects investigate, for example, the ability of forest plantations to serve as refuge to native woody species. Studies focus on the forest plantations, the woodlands and the shrublands of Israel, but also some research is conducted in North American Oak Savanna and West African Savanna. The scientific approach is to bridge between eco-physiological approach and the study of higher levels of organization i.e. population, community and the landscape. The ensuing methodologies usually integrate tools from various disciplines; filed surveys, field and common garden experiments, molecular and GIS tools.


French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands
Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research
BGU Sede Boqer Campus 84990 Israel
Tel: 972-8-6563427
Fax: 972-8-6596757


B.Sc.                    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture (Rehovot), Dept. of Horticulture Graduated with Honors.

M. Sc.                 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dept. of Field and Vegetable Crops. Advisors: Prof. Rubin, B. and Prof. Kigel, J. Thesis: “Datura stramonium L. and D. ferox L.: Ecophysiology of Germination.”. Summa Cum Laude.

Visiting Scholar. University of California at Berkeley USA, College of Environmental Design, Applied Environmental Geographic Information Systems (AEGIS) Research  Laboratory. Prof. Radke, J. Research project: Designing of Geographic Information Systems Prototype for Municipal Use.

Ph.D.                   Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Dept of Life Sciences (1998 – 2004). Advisors: Prof. Shachak, M. and Prof. Kadmon, R. Dissertation: “Mechanisms Controlling Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Shrubland Patchiness: The Case Study of Sarcopoterium spinosum (L) Spach.”; PhD. Summa Cum Laude.

Post-Doctoral Associate  Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota at St. Paul. Prof. Peter B. Reich’s research group. “Oak Savanna – Thicket Dynamics Driven by a Decadal Prescribed Fire Regime”


Research projects (open for prospective M.Sc., Ph.D students):

  • Afforestation in drylands: introducing native woody species and species closely related to native ones, that are drought resistant but do not carry the risk of being invasive.
  • Introducing Pistacia atlantica to dryland afforestation.
  • The regeneration of native woodland species within man-planted conifer forests.
  • Ecophysiology of broadleaved native species establishing in drought and shade conditions of pine plantations.
  • The effects of forest-gaps and various planting densities on the establishment of native chaparral broadleaved species.
  • The resilience of Tabor Oak-Park ecosystem:  The recovery from wildfires an the effect of post-fire cattle grazing on regeneration processes.
  • Silvicultural practices to encourage regeneration following wildfire
  • Transitions between the states of closed and open woodland: The shaping forces of fire in temperate Oak Savanna.


Relevant Publications:

  • Reisman-Berman, O., Rojo, L., Berliner, P. (2010).  Afforestation to combat desertification in arid zones requires a concerted endeavor. In:  Birot, Y. and Gracia, C. (Eds.). Water for Forests and People in the Mediterranean; a Challenging Balance - What Science Can Tell Us? Chapter 5.3., European Forest Institute. (In press).
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Ben-Yair, S. and Boeken, B. (2010). The establishment of broadleaved woody native chaparral species within conifer plantations of Israel: The case study of Quercus calliprinos. Ecology and the Environment 1: 38-46.  (in Hebrew, abstract in English).
  • Reisman-Berman, O., (2007). Age Related Canopy Traits Shift Facilitation to Interference in Semi-arid Shrubland. Ecography 30: 459-470.
  • Reisman-Berman, O. and Henkin, Z. (2007). Sarcopoterium Spinosum: Revisiting Shrub Development and its Relationship to Space Occupation with Time. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 55: 53-61.
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Kadmon, R. and Shachak, M. (2006). Spatio-Temporal Scales of Dispersal Limitation in the Recolonization of a Semi-Arid Mediterranean Old-Field. Ecography  29 (3): 418-426.
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Kadmon, R., Henkin, Z. and Shachak, M. (2004). From seedling to landscape: an integrated study of spatio-temporal dynamics of Sarcopoterium spinosum. in: M. Arianoutsou (Ed.) MEDECOS X, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Mediterranean Climate Ecosystems. (CD-ROM).
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Kigel, J. and Rubin, B. (1990).  Short Soaking in Water Inhibits Germination of Datura ferox L. and D. stramonium L. Seeds. Weed Research 29: 357-363.
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Kigel, J. and Rubin, B. (1989). Dormancy Patterns in Buried Seeds of Datura ferox and D. stramonium. Canadian Journal of Botany 69: 173-179.
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Kigel, J. and Rubin, B. (1988) Factors involved germination of Datura ferox L and D. stramonium. Phytoparasitica. 16(4): 372-373.
  • Kigel, J., Reisman-Berman, O. and. Rubin, B. (1988). Photothermal Interactions in the Germination of Datura stramonium  L. Plant Physiology.  86: suppl. p133.

Conferences / Meetings and Workshops  followed by published abstracts


  • Reisman-Berman, O., Ben-Yair, S., Boeken, B., Shelef, O. and Rachmilevitch S. (2010) Shade or sun: what is the best practice to encourage the regeneration of Common Oak in dryland pine-forests? Drylands, Deserts and Desertification Sede Boqer, Israel. November.  
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Henkin, Z. and Kaplan, D. (2010) Fire severity, cattle grazing and forest structure; which would affect the recovery of Tabor Oak Forest from wildfires. The Israeli Association for Ecology and Environmental Quality Sciences, Ben-Gurion University, Israel. June.
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Ben-Yair, S., Rachmilevitch, S., Rewald, B. and Boeken. B. (2009). Does pine forest canopy benefit with the establishment of Quercus calliprinos in the presence of Mediterranean drought? FormanCost Workshop for Forest Sustainable Development in Arid lands, Sede Boqer, Israel. November.
  • Reisman-Berman, O., (2008). Which plant properties confer resilience to drought, fire, clear-cut and grazing? Drylands, Deserts and Desertification – post conference invitee workshop. Sede Boqer, Israel. December. 
  • Gleitman, S., Boeken B. and Reisman-Berman, O. (2008). Forest heterogeneity: A tool for the management of sustainable forests. The Israeli Association for Ecology and Environmental Quality Sciences, Haifa, Israel. June. 
  • Gleitman, S. and Reisman-Berman, O. (2007).The establishment of Quercus calliprinos within conifer planted forests: Implications for the era of climate a change. Israel Geographical Association, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel. December. 
  • Gleitman, S. Naki, D and Reisman-Berman, O. (2007). Seed or establishment limitations? The spontaneous regeneration of chaparral species within man-planted conifer forests of Israel. MEDECOS 11, Perth, Australia. September.  
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Kadmon, R. and Shachak, M. (2004). From seedling to landscape: an integrated study of spatio-temporal dynamics of Sarcopoterium spinosum. MEDECOS 10, Rhodes, Greece. April. 
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Kadmon, R. and Shachak, M. (2003) Recolonization of Sarcopoterium spinosum Shrubland in Old-fields. Annual Meeting of Nekudat Hen, Yad Hanadiv for the Support of Natural Landscape and Environment in Agricultural Areas, Zova, Israel. January.  
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Kadmon, R. and Shachak, M. (2001). How Does the Interaction Between Development Stages Affect Patch Formation in the Shrubland? The 44th Symposium of the International Association of Vegetation Science, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany. August.
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Kadmon, R. and Shachak, M. (2000). Spatio-temporal Patterns and Mechanisms of Space Occupation by Clonal Shrub Population. The British Ecological Society Special Symposium, UK. September.  
  • Reisman-Berman, O., Kadmon, R. and Shachak, M. (2000). The Recolonization of Abandoned Fields by the Clonal Shrub Sarcopoterium spinosum L. Evidenced by Archive Aerial Photos, Wood-rings and Field Observations. The 85th Annual Meeting of The Ecological Society of America, Utah, USA. August.